Retaining Retail Employees Becomes Harder: Survey

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Retaining Retail Employees Becomes Harder: Survey

CHICAGO -- Companies may need to sell their experience to more than just customers, as retailers struggle to retain existing talent and recruit new talent, according to a recent survey cited by Progressive Grocer, sister company to Convenience Store News.

Nearly half of all retail employers surveyed -- 48 percent -- stated it is harder to retain employees this year compared to last year. The survey also found that nearly three in 10 -- or 28 percent of -- employees plan to leave their jobs within the next year, and 46 percent within two years, the report stated.

The reasons for leaving included lack of career advancement opportunities, unsatisfactory pay, increased workload, and work/life balance concerns as contributing factors to their restlessness.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted a nearly 5 percent growth overall in retail sales in 2007. To keep up with consumer demand, 81 percent of retail employers said they plan to hire new employees in 2007, according to the survey.

With 42 percent citing the inability to find qualified workers as the biggest impediment to hiring more workers, retail employers stated they are increasing workplace flexibility (34 percent), wage/salaries (32 percent), benefits (18 percent) and bonuses (16 percent) to retain current employees.

In addition, 62 percent of retail employees said they were satisfied with their current job overall. However, 69 percent surveyed were either actively seeking or would be open to a new job if they came across one, the report stated.

"Turnover isn't a new challenge for retailers," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president, "However, as the labor pool continues to shrink and retailers feel the pressure from consumers to keep doors open longer -- even 24 hours a day -- many retailers are embracing more competitive hiring and retention programs."

In the job satisfaction category, 27 percent of workers surveyed felt they have been overlooked for a promotion at their current job, and 44 percent of participants claimed to be unsatisfied with their pay. One-third were dissatisfied with their work/life balance, and more than half (54 percent) reported that their workload is either heavy or too heavy.

In terms of career advancement, 34 percent were dissatisfied with opportunities at their current position and 36 percent were dissatisfied with the training and learning opportunities, the report stated.